Pope Francis enjoyed a rather raucous Sunday morning in Paul VI Hall, complete with music, dancing, and a birthday cake in honor of his recent 83rd birthday.
The festivities were the result of the children assisted by the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary at the Vatican, accompanies by family members, volunteers, doctors, and nurses. The crowd numbered around 800, according to Vatican News.
“These kids, these kids do wonderful things! I’m happy, I’m glad to see you do this! You sing well, very well! You’re good,” the Holy Father told the audience. “And the cake looks like it’s good … Can we eat it? Yup? All together … Or are we waiting? Let’s wait, it’s more prudent …
“Giving children joy is a very big thing. Even parents when they know how to play with children do a very big thing. Playing with children, the expression of children who are innocence, promise, many good things … Thanks for this meeting.”
The Holy Father stressed the importance of the messages contained in three boxes the children brought forward during the audience: Hope, Love, Peace.
The Santa Marta Dispensary has provided medical assistance to children and families in need for more than 90 years. It is located near the Pope’s residence inside the Vatican. It was established in 1922 by Pope Pius XI and was visited by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2005.